Demo 2004 was an excellent conference -- I learned a lot and got to see many old and new friends. Ben and Mena Trott, from Six Apart Ltd. in San Mateo, California showed their newest Typepad tool for bloggers. It lets mobile bloggers -- "mobloggers" as they are called -- put their digital photos, along with audio and text, on their Web sites. (AP Photo by Roy Dabner).
Greg Reinacker of Newsgator (L) and I looked on as Doc Searles of Linux Journal showed us his blog on the big 17" laptop. Picture by Mitch Ratcliffe of RedHerring. There are also a couple of pictures from last year's Demo panel.
I could have spent a week seeing the demos and especially meeting and talking with the many entrepreneurs at the conference. Some conferences have long speeches. Demo has six minute demos and then plenty of time to chat with the CEO and CTO and marketing exec of the companies. I can't begin to do justice to the innovative products and services that I saw but I hope the following provides a glimpse of what was going on at Demo. (read more)
If you love technology, you have to love Demo. This year there were 58 companies on stage during the two day conference. Each demonstrator got six minutes to tell their story and show off their product. Here is a list of all the vendors with links to their sites. I didn't get to visit with all of them but I talked to quite a few. The following are some that I found particularly interesting. (read more)
Where's The Money?
The four Demo panelists did a very nice job of explaining their points of view about blogging. They talked about how blogging can fit into one's personal life, benefit a small business, cope in a major corporation, and streamline the flow of information from blogs to your PC or handheld. Thirty minutes was not nearly enough time to explore all the issues and we wanted to allow some time for audience questions. Not surprisingly, both Bobby Orbach and Amy Wohl asked about how the business model for blogging and how blogging enables money making. Certainly these are fair questions. In fact there are many unanswered questions about blogging just as their were many about the Web ten years ago. Blogging provides new protocols for creating, distributing, publishing syndicating, and reading information. Is there money to be made from protocols? Probably not. Is there money in html or http? Not per se. The money comes from ecosystem; i.e. it comes from content, transactions, and commerce that will be facilitated in new ways using blogging. We are 2% of the way into what blogging has in store for us.
At the Demo lunch there were tent cards on a number of the tables indicating a subject matter from the conference so people could congregate and share. Buzz Bruggerman and Greg Reinacker and I sat at the "blogging" table. Doc Searles was there blogging on his Apple ibook with the 17" screen and G5 chip. We all engaged Dave Sifry, CEO of Technorati, to learn about how he is providing real-time searching of blogs. If you have any doubts about how fast blogging is growing, take a look at his site.
The four Demo panelists and I are looking forward to our attempt tomorrow morning to reveal the big picture about blogging and where it is headed. In case you didn't see the preview, it is here. If you want to take a look at what the participants and moderator have been writing about lately, there are links to their blogs below. The companies of the four panelists have some really great products that are worth taking a look at if you don't already use them. I personally use something from each company. Movable Type is my primary tool for blogging. The product is excellent and so is the support. ActiveWords improves my productivity in blogging significantly. See story. I have not been a fan of Outlook but I must say that Outlook 2003 has some big improvements, especially in the ease and productivity of reading mail. Newsgator is a joy. It plugs into Outlook and makes reading blogs as easy as reading mail.
Here are links to the panelists blogs.
Demo Travel Woes
Every year I travel to Demo with eager anticipation, but as we all know, travel is not always fun. One of the major improvements in travel is the ability to print out a boarding pass at home before heading for the airport. American Airlines has made a lot of progress with aa.com over the recent years and I am sure it has been difficult coping with the integration of numerous legacy systems. Unfortunately, I have written about airline woes before involving breakdowns in the American systems and last night I experienced yet another one. (read more)
There will surely be a lot of very interesting technology at Demo 2004 next week. I One of these years I am going to ride my motorcycle out to Phoenix for the conference. Would sure be nice to be able to ride in warm weather. It actually got up to forty degrees in New England today and the sky was blue. I couldn't resist going for a ride so I put on the Widder electric chaps, gloves and vest, and headed out. It was very nice. Motorcycling in the winter is not a new experience this winter has been particularly challenging. A few weeks ago, the Harley-Davidson Fatboy hesitated in the six degree temperature even though it is fuel-injected but it does start fairly easily and runs very well in the cold. After returning home from the ride, the AWID tag on the front fork of the bike was detected and the proper garage door opened. Hoping to run into some fellow bikers and talk about gadgets at Demo. I am also looking forward to meeting the panelists for the blogging panel.
Demo 2004 starts on Monday in Phoenix and I am looking forward to it. There will be dozens of new products being shown for the first time. I am sure I will learn a lot. The best part of the conference is the opportunity to network with many old and new friends. Last year I participated on a panel at Demo to discuss WiFi. This year I will be moderating a panel on a subject very and near and dear to my heart -- blogging. The Demo team has setup a Demo Blog and a number of us will be posting things there -- including a preview of the panel..